Government of Canada navigation bar

Symbol of the Government of Canada

Primary site navigation bar

Explanations on Mandatory Compliance

April/19/2024 Edition

Disclaimer: This list is compiled by Transport Canada for the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) program using information provided by vehicle manufacturers on a voluntary basis.

Its accuracy cannot be guaranteed and its content is subject to change without notice.

There is also no guarantee that a vehicle deemed admissible on the list can be successfully modified to meet Canadian requirements.

For detailed information on importing a vehicle purchased in the United States or Mexico, contact the RIV at 1-888-848-8240 or visit


1. IMPORTATION OF VEHICLES (15) YEARS OLD OR OLDER AND BUSES MANUFACTURED BEFORE JANUARY 1, 1971 - Vehicles fifteen (15) years old or older, as determined by the month and year of manufacture, and buses manufactured before January 1, 1971, are no longer regulated under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act by virtue of their age. While Transport Canada does not regulate the importation of these vehicles, it does not preclude the vehicles from having to meet provincial/territorial safety and licensing requirements. Importers of such vehicles are required to complete a Vehicle Import Form 1, at the time of importation, and present proof of ownership. Also, please contact the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for clearance requirements.

2. On February 19, 2020, the mandate of the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) was expanded to include the importation from Mexico of a passenger car, multi-purpose passenger vehicle, truck or bus meeting the following conditions:

  • the vehicle is American certified, and
  • the vehicle was built prior to the current calendar year, and at least 90 days have elapsed since the date of manufacturing shown on the American compliance label, and
    • if gross vehicle weight is less than 5 metric tons, the odometer must show greater than 621 miles (1,000 km), or
    • if gross vehicle weight is equal to or greater than 5 metric tons, the odometer must show greater than 3,105 miles (5,000 km).

The new mandate does not include a three-wheeled vehicle, a low-speed vehicle, a trailer, a motorcycle, a dirt bike, a restricted-use vehicle, an ATV or a snowmobile from Mexico. Due to these limitations, the RIV compatibility list now indicates United States and Mexico or United States only under each admissibility record.

To import an eligible vehicle from Mexico, you must follow RIV procedures and complete the process.

An American specification vehicle is a vehicle designed, built, tested and certified by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to meet all applicable U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs). Where a U.S. specification vehicle is listed as ADMISSIBLE, and requires modifications, it may be extensive and expensive. Importers should determine the cost and extent of any required modifications before importing a vehicle into Canada.

A vehicle that cannot be modified, for whatever reason, cannot remain in Canada and must be exported. Where there is no information in this list concerning a U.S. specification vehicle, you must contact the manufacturer to determine its admissibility or inadmissibility. Manufacturers of U.S. vehicles are not legally obligated to respond to Transport Canada's requests for information on admissibility status or required to explain the reasons for inadmissibility, although some do. Transport Canada is not legally responsible for the accuracy and safety or cost implications of the information provided by OEMs.

3. A vehicle eligible for the RIV program (except a snowmobile, restricted-use vehicle, dirt bike and ATV which require different certification) must be certified by the OEM to all applicable U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs). Two criteria can be used to determine this:

  1. an American compliance label affixed to the vehicle at the time of main assembly with one of the following statements,
    "This vehicle conforms to the applicable federal motor vehicle safety, bumper and theft prevention standards in effect on the date of manufacture shown above"; or
    "This vehicle conforms to all applicable U.S. federal motor vehicle safety standards in effect on the date of manufacture shown above";
  2. a valid letter from the original manufacturer (subject to verification) or the final stage manufacturer (if applicable) containing the same information as would appear on the compliance label when the vehicle was originally certified at assembly.

4. Vehicles that have been modified from their original state, other than regular maintenance, may not be eligible for importation into Canada. For example, a van transformed into a motorhome (often known as Class B motorhome), a van equipped with raised roof and/or modified interior, a pick-up or a passenger car equipped with lift kit, a motorcycle converted to a motor tricycle (trike) are types of modifications that can render a vehicle inadmissible.

5. The importer is responsible for fulfilling any export requirements from the originating country that may apply. More information can be obtained by contacting the relevant customs border authorities before exporting a vehicle.

6. Vehicles originally equipped with air bags, as required by U.S. safety standards, must have operational air bags at the time of inspection by the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV).

7. All admissible vehicles, including trailers, snowmobiles, restricted-use vehicles, dirt bikes and ATVs must bear a manufacturer issued 17 character alphanumeric sequence that complies with CMVSS 115 - Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

8. ACTIVE and U.S. PASSIVE RESTRAINT SYSTEMS - Passive restraint systems are identified as a motorized upper torso restraint or a door mounted 3-point restraint. The fact that a seat belt restraint system is considered to be active or passive does not in itself determine a vehicle's admissibility or inadmissibility into Canada. What does make this determination is whether or not that vehicle meets CMVSS 210 - Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages. Vehicles identified by their manufacturer as not meeting CMVSS 210 at the time of manufacture are not eligible for importation into Canada under any circumstances. No modifications are allowed to the seat belt anchorage system.


 To carry out the task of monitoring the importation of vehicles purchased at the retail level in the United States and those prescribed by regulations from Mexico, Transport Canada has contracted a company to operate the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) to maintain and operate a system of inspection and compliance confirmation of imported vehicles. The program is a controlled process of federal registration, inspection and verification, to ensure that a U.S. specification vehicle is confirmed compliant to all CMVSSs prior to provincial/territorial licensing and registration in Canada.

Some of the benefits of this program to Canadians are to:

  • allow vehicles from the U.S. and certain used vehicles from Mexico that do not meet Canadian safety standards,  such as, daytime running lights, child restraint tether anchorages, electronic immobilization system and some labeling requirements, to be modified to comply with Canadian safety standards after they enter Canada;
  • provide support via a toll free bilingual phone and e-mail service;
  • develop and maintain an accurate and comprehensive database on such importations for Transport Canada;
  • assist provinces and territories by confirming compliance to federal safety standards of imported vehicles prior to licensing and registration in Canada.

Upon arrival at the border, importers must produce the vehicle's ownership title and documents related to its purchase. There must be evidence of an American Statement of Compliance (SOC) label on the vehicle or a manufacturer's letter (subject to verification), stating that the vehicle was built to comply with U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs) at the time of final assembly.

Importers must have the means of paying the Registrar of Imported Vehicles service fee and is responsible for the costs of modifying the vehicle. There are also fees and charges resulting from failure to pass the initial inspection within 45 days or 12 months in the case of a salvage vehicle imported to be rebuilt.

A confirmation that there are no outstanding recalls on a vehicle or proof that the recall work has already been completed in the U.S. must be sent to the RIV as soon as possible before, during or after importation. Confirmation that there are no outstanding recalls on a vehicle is a mandatory requirement for the RIV federal inspection program. The Vehicle Inspection Form will only be released to the importer in Canada by the RIV upon receipt and acceptance of the confirmation of no outstanding recalls. To verify what types of confirmation of no outstanding recalls are accepted by the RIV, please visit their Web site at: Send your confirmation of no outstanding recalls to the RIV by e-mail at, or by fax at 1-888-642-9899, or mail to 405 The West Mall, Toronto ON M9C 5K7.

The symbol (#) indicates that the manufacturer will not issue a confirmation of no outstanding recalls for vehicles that were once declared "salvaged" in the U.S. Failure to produce this confirmation will result in a failed inspection; therefore rendering the vehicle inadmissible.

10. TRAILERS with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs) - The trailer MUST bear a valid and legible manufacturer issued 17-character Vehicle Identifier Number (VIN) and a valid U.S. FMVSS manufacturing statement of compliance label (or equivalent letter from the manufacturer). All trailers that have undergone alterations (other than typical repairs or maintenance) which impede the trailer's original U.S. FMVSS certification are inadmissible.

11. DAYTIME RUNNING LAMPS (CMVSS 108) - All passenger cars, multi-purpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses imported into Canada must be equipped with functional daytime running lamps.

12. OWNER'S MANUAL AND BILINGUAL WARNING LABELS - To obtain an owner's manual in both official languages or bilingual warning labels, an importer can contact the vehicle manufacturer or an authorized dealer. Online resources may also be available.




Registrar of Imported Vehicles
405 The West Mall, Suite 500
Toronto, ON M9C 5K7

Tel. within North America: 1-888-848-8240 (English/French)
Outside North America: (416) 626-6812
Web site:
E-mail Address:



Canada Border Services Agency
Automated Information System (ACIS)

Tel.: (204) 983-3500 or (506) 636-5064 (English)
(204) 983-3700 or (506) 636-5067 (French)
Web site:

You can call toll free from within Canada by dialing 1-800-461-9999 (English) or 1-800-959-2036 (French), or you may also wish to contact your local Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office. Telephone numbers are available in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.



Motor Vehicle Safety
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0N5

Within Canada: 1-800-333-0371 (toll free)
Outside Canada: (613) 998-8616
Facsimile: (613) 998-8541

Web site:

Subject to revision without notification.

Date Modified:

Primary navigation

Registrar of Imported Vehicles Compatibility List